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Chelsea: Rival bidders kick as preferred choice to buy club from Abramovich emerges

 


Rival bidding groups are now kicking, accusing the US merchant bank, Raine Group of preferential treatment towards the Ricketts family as the fierce battle to buy Chelsea football club intensifies, The Times reports.

The rival bidding groups fear the owners of the Chicago Cubs are now the preferred choice of Raine to buy the Stamford Bridge outfit.

Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich had enlisted US merchant bank Raine Group to oversee the sale of the club he has owned since 2003 after he was sanctioned by the United Kingdom government over his ties with President Vladimir Putin, who declared war against Ukraine.

Raine group got a lot of offers from within and outside Europe and whittled it down to a four-strong shortlist.

The controversial prospective owners, the Ricketts family, as well as consortiums led by Todd Boehly, Sir Martin Broughton and Stephen Pagliuca made the top four bidders.

At a point, it appeared as though the Ricketts bid would not make the final cut, after several backlashes from supporters when anti-Muslim comments from the family’s patriarch, Joe, resurfaced.

But the Ricketts family’s bid has now gotten through to the next stage of the selection process.

The Times reports that rival bidding groups fear the owners of the Chicago Cubs are now the preferred choice of Raine to buy Chelsea.

One of the shortlisted consortiums even feel rules of the bidding process might have been ‘breached’ after Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck set up a meeting between Tom Ricketts and Paul Canoville.

The meeting was held after former Chelsea player, who is the club’s first black player, had demanded the thrashing of the Ricketts family’s bid after Joe Ricketts’ Islamophobic remarks resurfaced.

However, Tom Ricketts, Joe’s son, reached out to Buck to broker the meeting with Canoville and they met last Thursday with the Chelsea chairman also in attendance.

For this reason, the rival consortiums feel this goes against the strict instructions they were given not to lobby Chelsea’s three-person executive team.

That body, who will work with Raine to decide the preferred bidder, consists of Buck and Chelsea directors, Marina Granovskaia and Eugene Tenenbaum.

Chelsea insists Buck did not play an active part in the meeting, but the rival bidders feel his intervention to help the Ricketts’ family ‘cleanse their reputation’ goes against the rules of the process.

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